Eastern VS Forest Pansy Redbud

Ibanez540rMarch 28, 2012

I've decided on a redbud for my backyard. It will be North & Eastern facing. With the house, 6 foot fence, and another tree to the west / south. I REALLY like the look of the red leaves of the Forest pansy to add some color to the green surroundings. I was curious what other differences there may be between the eastern and the forest pansy other than physical color?

I was zone 5 but apparently now zone 6.


BTW, I've found a 2in. trunk B&B for $124

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The purple-leaved one is a cultivar of eastern redbud. The difference is the leaf color. It is also less conspicuous in flower than usual.

If you don't understand my point let me put it this way: your question reads the same as

What is the difference between a dairy cow and a Holstein cow?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Forest Pansy has a more open architecture with a wider, more graceful (or disorganized if you are not a fan) crown and here, at least, does better with a bit of shade. I can grow it in full sun (have had them for 25+ years in various gardens) but the purple leaves really 'brown out' in full sun and stay lovely purple with some shade. Someone from your zone will be better able to give you specifics about shade/sun requirements where you are. 'Forest Pansy' also has larger leaves that are even more markedly heart-shaped.
Technically, 'Forest Pansy' IS an Eastern redbud as Eastern redbud is Cercis canadensis and FP is C. canadensis 'Forest Pansy'. If you were set on a green-leaved variety and did not have shade, I would recommend other Cercis species such as texensis or chinensis, both of which do just fine in full sun here and are more interesting (to my eye) than straight canadensis. In nature they are all understory trees - like dogwoods- but some are more amenable to full sun than others. Fall color is better on 'Forest Pansy' than any of the green-leaved varieties.

Hope that helps! Cercis are lovely trees.

I have a feeling you will hear some comments about b&b from posters who are more experienced with them than I am!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 10:28PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

are you in that famous OH clay ... if so.. do you know how to plant in it ????

are you z5 or 6 ... i have no problem with the straight species.. but the foo foo ones can have problems in my z5 ...

i would NEVER buy a 2 inch caliper tree ... too hard to physically deal with ... and i am presuming at that price it will not be professionally planted .. too much stress at digging .. balling .. burlapping .. dragging cross country ... dragging across your lot .. planting at proper height..

plus all the attendant after care issues on a giant tree ...

if a tree is twice as big below ground.. as above.. just try to imagine what was cut off the root system.. and how that relates to a 6 to 8 foot tree with a 2 foot rootball ...

go about half the size .. and half the price.. and what the heck .. buy two ...

IMHO.. there is no instant gratification in trees ...

will it be guaranteed????


    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:12AM
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If you like the leaf color of Forest Pansy you can go with Merlot (if you can find it). It's a slightly smaller tree but supposed to hold its color better. I've been trying to find one myself.
FormandFoilage, I have a question about your advice. I was told that Forest Pansy fades its color in the shade and to plant it in more sun. Could it be a zone thing or did I plant mine in the wrong spot? I've read conflicting info on this.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:20AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

I'm not in Ohio, but here in Northwestern Arkansas, I see FP planted in full sun all the time, and they seem fine. They turn basically an off color green by mid-summer, and not much for fall color. There is a local shopping center that has them in landscape islands of the parking lot in blazing sun, and they do surprisingly well. So IMHO, you don't need to worry too much about sun exposure in Ohio assuming you have reasonable soil. One thing to be aware of, is that allot of the Redbud selections are not rated as cold tolerant.

Lastly, Sooner Plant Farm lists Merlot Redbud.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:11AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

GreenHaven - I suspect that our zonal differences make a difference! We are very dry in summer - very little humidity - and that may be why mine hold color better with some shade. Also, when I say shade, I do not mean deep shade, rather some protection from hot afternoon sun in mid-summer. The ones in full sun do exactly as arktrees says - they turn an off-color green. Their fall color is noticeably better than any of my green ones (chinensis, can var. texensis, occidentalis or any of the many other canadensis varieties). However, I would not select this tree for fall color the way I would Oxydendrum, Parrotia, etc.

I think on something like this your best bet is more local advice (provided it is reliable) or at least from similar zones. Merlot sounds really nice - I'm particularly intrigued by descriptions that say 'excellent branching' as redbuds generally are rife with crossed branches and need to be pruned carefully when young. It is a cross between FP and C. can var texensis and seems to be a better choice for 'hotter, drier' spots which would definitely be here. Also is described and being tighter and denser than FP, which might be preferable to a lot of folks.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:39AM
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I find that the species generates a lot more seed pods - probably because it has more fertile flowers or those flowers are more attractive to pollinators.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Due to some of the comments I also went to look at some smaller trees at the local nurseries. The forest pansy is around $150 for a pretty small tree and at the same place the Eastern Redbud is $75 for a decent tree and I also have a 20% off coupon. Just due to $ the eastern is tempting although I'd like the forest pansy.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 7:13AM
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Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the 3 eastern redbuds I have planted. But this:

By jp_42_82 at 2012-04-03

...just doesn't have the attraction power comparable to this:

By jp_42_82 at 2012-04-03

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:08AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

'Forest Pansy' bronzes out here in the frequently dull and cool Seattle area also. Typical summer condition is purple leaves on the ends, where the leaves are the youngest, bronze leaves behind those and greenish leaves in the center. Oldest leaves being lost to inadequate watering (a common condition in my area, where "it rains all the time" but summers are actually quite droughty) will have premature fall color.

Many other kinds of purple-leaved trees have poor color retention. The basic cause it their genetics, the best selections stay a good deep purple. 'Forest Pansy' is simply not one of those selections.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 2:11PM
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@greenhavengarden... Check out Fairweather Garden in NJ online. They only do mail order and only thru April 30th. I just recd my Merlot canadensis clerics from them. Grafted plant btw. So have to remove lower suckers.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:30AM
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Both I and my mother have Forest Pansys in full sun and see very little bronzing- just the slightest tinge.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Any last recommendations? I have found a 1.5" caliper Forest pansy for $75 and also a similar sized Eastern Redbud for the same.

My only concern is cold hardy. Forest Pansy be OK?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 1:06PM
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jp_42_82, what is that second picture with the gorgeous burgundy foliage?? Is that the Forest Pansy, or the Merlot?


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:49PM
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It is a 'Forrest Pansy' :) I would strongly consider a 'Merlot' in you location. If my FP ever croaks, Merlot is what I plan to replace it with.

I lived in OKC for 4 years. Good luck with that clay hard pan! I had to soak the ground for at least a couple of hours before I could even think about digging in that "soil"


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 3:34PM
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